Sunday 5 October 2014

The Saga of Hadwin Hairy-Breeches

I ran a 4-way game of Saga at the club on Friday, using my new board and a scenario I devised for it:

The Saga Of Hadwin Hairy-Breeches

Uncertain loyalties rule the day when Hadwin Hairy-Breeches and his half-brother, Snorri Most-Beard, raid a Pictish farmstead. The brothers haven't stopped sniping at each other since they left their home fjord, but the heat of battle will test their familial ties once and for all. Defending the farm is an equally divided band of Picts - how far can Drosten the farmer trust in the aid of Onuis, his neighbor, when Onuis has made no secret of his lust for Drosten's lands?

Hadwin Hairy-Breeches
It’s time for some new wives! You have traveled across the vicious seas for days, and you have one thing in mind: capture some slaves to bring home for sale. Your half-brother, Snorri, though, has been argumentative and disrespectful for the whole journey. He would bear watching.
Plunder victory points:
Each unit that stays in contact with one of the buildings in the farmstead (that is not occupied by fighting men) for one full turn may capture its inhabitants. Each batch of inhabitants you carry off the board (by any edge) gives you +3 VP.

Snorri Most-Beard
It has been nearly a year since your last raid, and you can already feel the red mist descending. But here’s Hadwin again, trying to tell you - you! - what to do and how to fight, just like when you were children. Well, you didn’t come all this way to line his pockets with slaves and plunder. You came here to do one thing: wet your sword and dance in the flames.
Savagery victory points:
Each unit that stays in contact with one of the buildings in the farmstead for one full turn may light that building on fire, OR slaughter its non-combatant inhabitants. You may not slaughter the inhabitants of a building if that building is on fire. Each burnt building or group of slaughtered inhabitants gives you +2 VP.

Drosten The Farmer
The northmen have come! You have secured the women and children in the hall and outbuildings, but the walls are thin and the thatch is dry. You have sent for help from Onuis over the hill, but he’s had designs on your lands for years, and you don’t know how far you can trust him. There’s only one thing to do: muster your men and try to keep the northmen from stealing or destroying everything you value.
Preservation victory points:
Each building in the farm that remains intact, with living inhabitants, by the end of the battle, earns you +3 VP.

Onuis The Farmer
A breathless messenger has just arrived from Drosten’s farm over the hill: the northmen have come! Honor requires you to ride to his aid, but Drosten has been sneaking his sheep onto your pastures for years and thumbing his nose at you in council. And besides, your son is of age and needs land if his own. Perhaps you can offer help, while advancing your own interests at the same time...
Betrayal victory points:
Each group of Drosten’s people that is kidnapped or slain by the northmen grants you +3 VP (no, you may not kidnap or slay them yourself), but each of his buildings that burns costs you -2 VP.

I had four people who wanted to play (including my lovely wife), so I just refereed the game. Here's how it went:

A band of bloodthirsty Northmen appear and charge across the ford.
Onuis and his liegemen arrive and charge on ponies to head off the Northemen at the right ford.

A band of Pict warriors manage to beat back the first wave of berserkers, but at great cost... only three remain, and
another group of Northmen mass across the stream!

Javelin-armed levy mass in the centre of the farmstead, near to Drosten, and shielded somewhat by a
small group of hearthguard.

The bigger picture: it's a small board, but works just fine for a 4-way game.

Northmen mass at the right ford and begin to charge across, as their Jarl and hearthguard wade across the
deeper part of the stream.

More fighting at the left ford as Onuis's troops rush to support.

Back at the right ford, Onuis and his mounted hearthguard splash into the stream to beat up on some
Northmen, while the warriors follow on foot.

Two groups of Northmen hearthguard - one of them berserkers - have been lurking around the far side
of the board all game, but now decide to wade into the stream and get into the fight.

Northmen gain the other side of the ford and get ready to beat off another Pict attack. 

Likewise, several Northmen have made it across the stream on the right side and things are getting
bloody. Onuis has ridden around behind them and has them somewhat surrounded.

One group of Northmen warriors manages to make it - barely - to the hall, but they are smashed before
they can take any prisoners. Meanwhile, the battle around the woodpile has been going on for
quite a while, with a lot of blood spilled on both sides, and several inconclusive battles
between Hadwin and Drosten.

More Northmen cross the left ford, but they have a lot of Picts arrayed against them.

Some of the Northmen, however, manage to make contact with the two small outbuildings and
slaughter the inhabitants, then set the buildings afire.

The Northmen at the left ford, having created all the havoc they came to create, retreat in good order
back across the ford.

At the end of the game, Drosten's troops were slain to a man (though one Hearthguard managed to survive for turn after turn against terrible odds... the future subject of an epic poem, perhaps?), but he had managed to put a lot of hurt onto the Vikings. A few of Onuis's troops remained, having mostly fought on the right side against Hadwin. Hadwin lost a lot of troops, but he survived and had the distinction of killing both of the opposing warlords. Snorri lost a few men and killed a few men, but he was the one who was most able to achieve his aims, burning and murdering the inhabitants of two of the three buildings.

I thought the rules worked quite well for a 4-player game. The learning curve is a fairly steep for people to just pick up the game and be confident in playing it, because the battle boards are a bit much to absorb all at once. My lovely wife thought that she would enjoy the game a lot more after having played it a few times, when she would have a better idea of what each warband was capable of and how their abilities worked.

Also, next time I should remember to bring some fatigue counters, so we don't have to use her knitting stitch markers!

Monday 29 September 2014

Saga: Pictish Village!

It has been a loooong time since my last update, but I haven't been idle. I have been thinking about building myself a "permanent" board, i.e. one where all the terrain is built-in, rather than placed depending on the game, for ages. This summer I decided to finally get about it and planned out a 2x2 Pictish village for my 15mm Saga games.

This board has been in progress since mid-summer, working on it a bit here and a bit there. I had to learn some new techniques to build it - pouring an epoxy-resin river, for one - and I'm pretty happy with the results.

There are still a few things that need to be done before it's totally finished. I have more trees to make (what you see here is about half of what I have), the small buildings need doors, and I'd like to put some gaffer tape around the edges to make it look a little cleaner. It's play-able at this point, though, so I'm going to bring it to the Trumpeter club meeting this Friday.

I have a ton of new miniatures for the game as well, but photos of them will have to wait until a later date!

Saturday 21 June 2014

Saga Vikings

I have started work on a new warband to fight my 15mm Picts - Vikings!





I bought enough Khurasan Vikings to make up a warband of either Vikings or Jomsvikings, depending on my mood. The shields are decorated with Little Big Man transfers.

I still have 24 Warriors and a Jarl to complete before they are war-ready, but that shouldn't take too long. I also have a special game table planned for these guys, which will be a huge project in its own right.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Boudicca and Gemina

I hosted a game at the Trumpeter Club last night pitting Boudicca and her Britons against the might of the Roman XIV Legion, Gemina. These are 10mm Pendraken miniatures and we were using Warmaster Ancients to play the game.

I had my light box set up today for something else, so I thought I should photograph my ancients as well, since I don't have a good photo record of them.

The game:

Brits form up to charge the Romans!

This one chariot stand kept annoying the Roman lines for most of the battle, and just wouldn't die.

Yep, that's Grace!

The figures:

Legions, Praetorians, and Auxilia, plus command stands

Same, from behind
Same, from above

Same, from above AND behind omg

Skirmishers, Heavy Cavalry, Archers, Onager, and Scorpions (facing the wrong way like idiots)

British Warbands, Skirmishers, and Fanatics, plus command stands

Brit Chariots and Light Cavalry

Saturday 12 April 2014

Axles & Alloys - 5-person game

I had another game of Axles & Alloys yesterday, this time with five people. I was driving the school bus, Bryan was driving the van with the buzz saws, Dave had the fire truck (which he equipped with a flame thrower... fire truck indeed), Mattie had her little convertible with the bat wings, and Ryan had his crazy evil hot rod.

The game took a lot longer with this many people, but it was still fun and it didn't feel like it was dragging at any point. Mattie had never played any sort of miniatures game before, and she was the last one to die. There were some epic and exciting moments, with multiple crashes, cars zooming around on fire, people machine-gunning each other left and right, and traps laid all over the table.

One turn in, everybody has just left their starting positions.

Ryan's hot rod faces down Bryan's buzzsaw van.

The School Bus, delivering a load of hot napalm to the townspeople.

Things start to heat up in the centre of the table

The buzzsaw van takes a bad hit and is the first to break down.

Dave's firetruck is next, but not before he manages to lay a path of spikes. Above you can see the napalm I sprayed on the ground to trap Ryan, but he managed to put out the fire with no damage done.

The end of the game. I rammed the hot rod to death, and at the end of the same turn Mattie's convertible finally succumbed to the fire started by one of my napalm traps.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Axles And Alloys: first vehicle

My game buddy Brian found a free set of rules for post-apocalyptic car battles called Axles And Alloys. We had two games a couple of weekends ago, and it is really fun, with lots of high-speed mayhem, guns, rams, and drifting around the table. I bought a few Matchbox cars to convert, and Bryan gave me a school bus. Last night I had a go at converting the bus, and here's the result:

It still needs some work - more dirt, spikes, armor plates, and some guns - but I think it's a good start.

Trumpeter Salute 2014

Last weekend I attended the yearly game convention of the Trumpeter Society in Burnaby. I attended Friday night and all day Saturday, but skipped out on the Sunday session.

Attendance at the games I hosted was disappointing: I had one player for my Quar game on Friday, and none for my Clay Havoc game on Saturday. Even so, I was able to get in some fun games throughout the weekend.

Quar: Double Cross

We played the Double-Cross scenario from the book, which has the game start with an exchange of pigs for weapons, and ends up in a full-blown firefight.

The Partisans show up with a couple of pigs to trade

The Crusaders appear with a crate of guns. Let's hope nobody loses their nerve and starts something!

Shortly after someone starts something, the Crusader sniper climbs atop a rock promontory to trade shots with the Partisan sniper.

The Crusader Heavy Shotgun team sets up in the woods.

The Partisans escape off the board with their crate of guns while the Partisan Wagon sets up for some machine-gunning.

Crusaders advance down the right flank while one of their number takes off with a pig.

Escaping with the pig.

Crusaders advancing, shortly before getting torn up by Partisan rifle fire. I pushed the Crusaders pretty hard, which was probably unwise, but I also didn't want to play a whole game where we just sat and traded shots from across the board.

Prone (not injured) Partisans lurking in the woods.

The Crusader sniper, now in some cover, gets the only Crusader kill of the game when he takes out the Partisan sniper.

The Partisan wagon, happily decimating the Crusader HSG team.

The crusader assault on the left flank falls apart when the lead rhyflers are butchered.

A few right-flank Crusaders are forced into cover and never make it into the assault.

The Crusader assault on the right flank meets the same fate, and that's pretty much the end of the game.

Pulp Figures

The good chaps from Pulp Figures hosted a game  that started late on Saturday morning, which worked perfectly for me, since I arrived late. The scenario featured an archaeological party on Venus besieged by rampaging lizard people, and a detachment of British colonial troops and Canadian militia sent out to relieve them.

The archaeologists barricade themselves within their camp.

The Brits and Canadians arrive by boat.

The archaeologists hunker down under the fire from the lizard folk.

The Brit tank and limbered Gatling gun begin to make their way onshore, while my Canadians still flounder in the river.

The British troops disembark...

... and Lizard folk emerge from the undergrowth to meet them!

...while my Canadians still struggle to get ashore on their crappy boat.

Landed at last, the Canadians form a firing line.

The Lizards retreat back into the jungle under a hail of fire.

Brit troops pass behind the Canadians to secure the ford for their tank.

The Brits and their tank press on while the Canadians give covering fire.

The Lizards set up a bombard cannon to shell the archaeologists!

At that point I had to pack it in and get ready for the Clay Havoc game I was set to host, so I left the battle unresolved - but things were looking good for the humans.

Ran - Ronin Skirmish

Nobody (except my wife) had signed up for Clay Havoc, so after a few minutes of waiting I went looking for something else to do. David from Kingsford Miniatures was running games of Ronin, with miniatures from his company and a scenario based on the movie Ran, and I was able to jump in on that.

I was playing the defenders, and I had two groups of enemies to contend with. I played a fighting retreat and by the end of the game things were looking grim, but despite being outnumbered the enemy still hadn't made it into the castle.

My troops (with black bases) beat up on the elder son's attacking troops. I was outnumbered, but my men acquitted themselves well and caused a lot of damage.

On the other side, the younger son's troops surround my lone defender and kill him - but not before he takes one of them out.

My 2nd in command and arquebusier defending the castle staircase.

A small force holds the castle gate against more of the younger son's troops. I expected them all to die, but they slowed up the advance and went out covered in glory.

Cannae - White Rock Gamers

The White Rock Gamers always put on some amazing games, and I was excited to play in their version of Cannae, the famous one-sided slaughter of a Roman legion by Hannibal in the 2nd Punic War.

I played as the Romans, with the center of the line my area of responsibility.

After some maneuvering, we finally come to grips with the Carthaginians. My Triarii are stuck behind the line, and the unit on the left never actually sees battle.

On the right flank, and against all odds, the Roman cavalry actually holds off the Carthaginian cavalry and keeps that flank intact.

On the left flank things are much messier, but only one detachment of Carthaginian cavalry manages to sneak around our flank.

After a couple of rounds of fighting, the Carthaginian line is pretty much wrecked. The Carthaginian troops are not as tough as the Roman ones, and historically the Carthaginians fell back before the Roman advance, giving their cavalry wings time to sweep around and completely encircle the Romans. I was facing a young player in the center of the Carthaginian line, and he probably didn't know about that, so he got stuck in with his infantry and paid for it.

On the right side, the Romans are about to be flanked by a band of screaming Gauls, but those Gauls in turn are about to be smashed by my Triarii.

The end of the battle. My Roman legion has crunched through the Carthaginian front line and caught Hannibal, ending the game.